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Bautista hits record-tying home run in Jays' loss to Orioles

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The Canadian Press
9/16/2010 12:20:09 AM
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BALTIMORE -- Three batters into the game, Jose Bautista hit his 47th home run to provide Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek a lead to work with in his major league debut.

Drabek threw well enough to win. Unfortunately for the newcomer, the guy who surrendered Bautista's milestone homer was even better.

Brad Bergesen pitched a seven-hitter, and the Baltimore Orioles completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.

Bergesen (7-10) struck out three and walked none in his third career complete game, second this season. The right-hander came in with a 6.99 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Blue Jays, but dominated this one after yielding Bautista's solo shot in the first inning.

"It feels like a lot of other outings," Bergesen said. "You face a team like Toronto (with) such a deadly lineup, they get up there swinging. So if you are able to make your pitches, you can get some quick outs."

Which is precisely what happened. Bergesen needed only 95 pitches to get it done, and the game was played in a brisk one hour 55 minutes -- the first time the Orioles have completed a game in under two hours since May 25, 2005, against Seattle.

Bergesen was aided by two double plays, and the Orioles threw out a runner at the plate. Shortstop Cesar Izturis contributed four assists and three putouts, including a diving grab of a low liner by Lyle Overbay in the seventh inning.

"Bergy was the story tonight," manager Buck Showalter said, "but I've got to tell you Izzy is a close second."

That's exactly how first baseman Luke Scott saw it.

"Cesar made some great plays, but Brad set the tempo for us on the mound," Scott said. "He was around the zone, and their guys were in swing mode. He put the ball where he wanted to. He kept the ball down, it had late movement, and when that happens you keep your defence involved."

Baltimore has won nine of 11 and captured four straight series. The Orioles are 26-15 under Showalter, including 9-6 against the AL East.

One reason for the resurgence is Bergesen, who was 3-9 on July 26 and has since surrendered three runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts.

"To be able to persevere and come back and try to contribute to this team, it's a satisfying feeling," he said.

Bautista's drive tied the Toronto club record set in 1987 by George Bell. It was his seventh of the season versus the Orioles, the most against any team, and second off Bergesen.

"It was nice to do it for the fans, but ultimately the reason you play the game is to win and we didn't do that," Bautista said. "It's been a very fun year on a personal level."

One more homer will enable Bautista to stand alone among Toronto's season leaders. For now, he's happy to share the record with Bell.

"He's a guy I got to know over the years. He was a great baseball player and had a great career for the Toronto Blue Jays," Bautista said. "Hopefully, I'll have as good a career."

Toronto has hit at least one home run in 17 consecutive games, the longest run in the AL this year and one short of the streak of 18 straight by Cincinnati from May 11-29.

Drabek, the son of former Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings. The Eastern League player of the year struck out five and walked three.

"He did a good job. He kept us in the ball game," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "We just didn't score runs for him."

Drabek's father was in attendance. Doug Drabek made his debut in Baltimore for the New York Yankees in June 1986.

"The best advice he gave me was to stay calm, be aggressive and throw strikes," Kyle said of his father. "Early on, I didn't throw as many strikes as I wanted to. (But) I came in here knowing it could only get better."

He said his father "was probably more nervous than I was."

After Bautista's homer, Vernon Wells reached on an error and was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a double by Overbay.

In the bottom half, Drabek yielded singles to the first two batters he faced. The Orioles then pulled off a double steal before Scott hit an RBI groundout.

Baltimore missed a scoring opportunity in the third when Izturis was tagged out trying to score on a double by Brian Roberts.

But the Orioles took the lead with a two-run fourth. After Corey Patterson hit an RBI single, another run scored when Roberts bounced into a double play.

Notes: Toronto has lost seven of eight overall and 10 of 13 on the road. ... Roberts has reached base safely in 25 straight games. ... Baltimore was 0-12 against Toronto before this series.

Jose Bautista (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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